C&CO. EXCLUSIVE: APC Player Interviews

Robert Arnold

Offensive Tackle
Robert C. Byrd High School
Class of 2019

Personal Goals: Arnold looks to find a spot on the first team all-state list at the end of next season. Arnold says he “Looks to be a fierce competitor and earn any awards” that he is eligible for, such as the Stydahar Award.

Team Goals: To develop the young quarterback and improve the secondary at Robert C. Byrd were high on Arnold’s list of team goals. Arnold also tells us that RCB has a strong O-line and run game and the team is only looking to fill a handful of holes next season. Arnold says the biggest challenges on the schedule for RCB next year are Fairmont Senior and Bridgeport, two “AA” powerhouses.

Recruiting: Arnold told us that he is being recruited by a few schools including Fairmont State, West Liberty, and West Virginia Wesleyan. Arnold announced Tuesday morning that he had been offered by Graceland University as well. Arnold’s senior campaign should also gain him a great deal of exposure.


Breece Hoff

Capital High School
Class of 2019

Personal Goals: Breece Hoff is a very versatile player who has player multiple positions for the Cougars over the last couple seasons, but he says one of his main focuses this year is to improve his statistics is the Sacks and Tackle-for-Loss categories. Breece wants to rack up at least 80 tackles this season in his pursuit for the Huff award.

Team Goals: Hoff was very clear in letting us know that the Capital Cougars have a state championship caliber team down in Charleston this season. Capital’s other impact players include Kalai Clark, Chance Knox, and Kerry Martin Jr. Though this team looks unstoppable, Breece says Johnson Central (KY.) will be a big test for them this season.

Recruiting: Breece has, just in the last couple days, picked up a scholarship offer from West Virginia Wesleyan and is likely to pick up offers from other MEC teams as well.



Kole Puffenberger

Pendleton County High School
Class of 2019

Personal Goals: There may not be another player in West Virginia who is clearer on what they want to accomplish and how they want to do it than Kole Puffenberger. Kole told us at the combine that he plans to stay in the weight room until the season begins to build up to a 300-pound max bench press. Once the season starts though, his goal is to rack up 1000 rushing yards and 2000 passing yards.

Team Goals: With Puffenberger at the helm, the Pendleton County Wildcats look to get more consistent play out of their offensive line and come together as team more to find some motivation. Puffenberger says that a big goal for the team this year is to host a playoff game. The team that the Pendleton QB thinks will be the most challenging is Petersburg, but he also said he knows that East Hardy is tough.

Recruiting: Puffenberger performed exceptionally well at the Appalachian Prep Combine and certainly increased his stock. He has been pursued by West Virginia Wesleyan as well as West Virginia State University. He is expected to gather much more interest his senior season.


Nick Malone

Offensive Tackle
Morgantown High School
Class of 2019

Personal Goals: Malone is one of the many elite tackles in the state during what very well may be West Virginia’s best year ever for linemen. Malone shared with us that he is looking to increase his exposure to college coaches, but his main goal this season is to win the Stydahar Award. With tough competition like Robert Arnold, Darnell Wright, and Doug Nester also making their case to be the Stydahar award winner, we should have a great season of lineman competition ahead of us.

Team Goals: Malone will be a team captain next season and he wants everyone to know that the Mohigans are ready to make a run. Nick said, “We want a state championship, nothing else matters.” Malone is only 1 piece of Morgantown’s solid offensive line. Though they have a strong run game and a swarming defense, the Mohigans will have to battle for the title of “AAA” state champion. Malone let us know that Morgantown High will not be squaring up against the Bulldogs of Martinsburg this year, so their toughest games, to him are against Fort Hill, MD and Steubenville, OH.

Recruiting: Malone tells us that the has had a handful of looks from Division 1 schools but wasn’t specific in naming which ones. He told us if he had his choice he’d like to be a Tennessee Volunteer. Malone has a multitude of camps planned for the summer in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.


Chance Knox

Wide Receiver
Capital High School
Class of 2020

Personal Goals:  Chance Knox is a young WR that showcased his speed and elusiveness during his sophomore campaign. Knox looks to improve his overall game this off-season to be a better WR for his team next season. He wants to focus on the fundamentals of the game and getting better at his position. Knox’s main goals for next season is to improve his number of catches and receiving yards, while helping the Cougars on their Championship pursuit.

Team Goals: Knox says that Capital is trying to fill some holes on the defensive side of the ball this season, but as most of the state knows, the Cougars never rebuild, they just reload. Knox stressed to us that he wants his team to be ready because their biggest test of the season is their first game. The Cougars take on the “AAAA” Kentucky powerhouse Johnson Central High School in their opener, and it will be a battle.

Recruiting: Knox is still a young player but has already caught the eyes of Division 2 schools in and around the state. If Knox continues to impress as he has, his recruiting is likely to pick up during and after his junior season.


Christian Hanna

Huntington High School
Class of 2019

Personal Goals: Christian Hanna is one part of Huntington High’s stellar offensive line. He is preparing for his senior campaign, and he wants to make sure it is one to remember. He looks to get stronger and faster while continuing to be aggressive on the field. Hanna is an absolute mauler, there were several instances at the APC where he had to be reminded that the players didn’t have pads on.

Team Goals: Huntington will have a new RB and QB for Hanna and company to protect this season. Hanna told us that he wants to make sure he is keeping them protected at all times. Hanna wants the whole state to know that this season, the Highlanders are going to “Run the scoreboard up and plow people in the ground, like we always do.” When asked about the biggest challenges on Huntington’s schedule next year, Hanna replied “Nothing, we’re not scared of nobody.”

Recruiting: Christian Hanna was a bit of a “late bloomer” so he did not have lot of initial recruiting buzz. However, now that Hanna is establishing himself as an elite lineman, schools like West Virginia State and other MEC institutions have him on their boards.


Malakai Brown

Wide Receiver
Hedgesville High School
Class of 2020

Personal Goals: Malakai Brown was the best wide receiver in the state last season. He received the Moss Award and racked up an absurd amount of TD’s and yards for the Eagles during his sophomore year. Malakai told us that he wants to improve on his stats from last year and finish with even more receiving yards and TD’s during his junior campaign.

Team Goals: Hedgesville is hoping to improve on last years record and reach the “AAA” playoffs. Malakai told us that a big goal the team has this year is to reach the second round of the playoffs. They have laid the foundation, but now want to take the next step.

Recruiting: Malakai Brown was the top receiver at the Appalachian Prep Combine this year and was the nation’s leader in receptions last season for underclassmen. That’s right. The nation. Brown is gaining interest from many schools with all the accolades he is racking up. He has not yet made much of his recruiting public, but as long as Malakai keeps playing at this elite level, big-time offers are certain to come his way.



Chandler Cooper

Bluefield High School
Class of 2019

Personal Goals: Chandler Cooper is the returning Quarterback for the Bluefield Beavers. Along with Mookie Collier and Truck Edwards, Cooper led the Beavers to a state championship the 2017 season. Cooper shows phenomenal leadership skills that really set him apart from other QB’s. Cooper has many goals this offseason as he prepares for his senior year. In the weight room, Cooper wants to hit a 1 rep max of 365 on squat and 300 on the bench press by next season. Along with improving his accuracy and throw power, Cooper also wants to improve his athleticism, so he can be a more mobile QB next year.

Team Goals: Cooper was very clear in stating what the Beavers want to do next season. He knows there are high expectations to go back-to-back, but Cooper believes if they “Give absolutely everything they have and leave it in God’s hands,” they will be right where they want to be at the end of the season. Bluefield usually plays a pretty tough schedule, but their toughest test of the season may come when the Beavers have their annual battle with the Graham G-Men.

Recruiting: Cooper was not the main attraction at Bluefield last year due to the Mookie Collier show. However, Cooper’s solid QB play and strong leadership have grabbed the interest of a couple of schools from the Mountain East conference as well as Alderson-Broaddus. A repeat for the Beavers would also improve the stock of this talented QB.

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